A <TORY ABOUT A REAL MAN 189 and from it arose such a fine moist vapour that one wanted to stick one's head out of the window to catch these pleasant raindrops. "He's coming!" whispered Meresyev. The heavy oak doors at the entrance opened slowly and two people emerged: a rather plump young woman, bare-headed, her hair combed back from her forehead, wearing a white blouse and a dark skirt; and a young soldier whom even Alexei did not at once recognise as the tankman. In one hand he carried his suitcase and over his other arm he carried his greatcoat; and he walked with such a springy step that it was a pleasure to watch him. Evidently, he was trying his strength, and was so delighted at being able to move freely that he did not run but seemed to glide down the steps. He took his companion's arm and, sprinkled with heavy, golden raindrops, walked with her along the embankmentó towards the window of the ward. As Alexei watched them his heart was filled with joy: so everything had passed off well! No wonder she has such a frank, sweet, simple face. Such a one would not turn away. No! Girls like that don't turn away from a man in trouble. They drew near the window, halted and looked up. The young couple stood against the rain-polished para- pet of the embankment where the slowly falling rain sketched a background of bright, slanting streaks. And here Alexei noticed that the tankman looked embarrassed and worried, and that Anyuta, who really was as pretty as in the photograph, also looked worried and embar- rassed, that her arm lay loosely on the tankman's arm, and that altogether she looked agitated and irresolute, as if she were about to withdraw her arm and run away. They waved their hands, smiled a strained smile, walked further along the embankment and vanished round the corner. Silently the patients returned to their beds. "Poor Gvozdev hasn't hit it off," observed the major, but on hearing the tap of Klavdia Mikhailovna's heels in the corridor, he gave a start and abruptly turned to the window.